Saturday, October 20, 2012

Rest of kit arrives for Total Solar Eclipse

Saturday 20th October 2012

I thought last week was busy for items arriving but this week was on par if not greater. A number of the items that I've decided to purchase do not necessarily fit in the "must have" category. But somehow I seem to have convinced myself that I need them. Either for this total eclipse or for other projects that I'm looking to undertake in film and photography. The damage is done now, the credit card is still smoking, so let me take you through the latest.

QStarz Q1000XT-F
For locaton and timing accuracy I've decided to go with a Bluetooth USB GPS dongle. Whilst there were same bare bones versions, I opted for one that can do data logging which is great for trips and geotagging photos. The make and model is the Qstarz BT-Q1000XT-F. I've included a picture of the device next to a standard mouse for reference. I'll post a video eventually of the unboxing that I did, but first impressions? It does what it says. 

I was able to get it working relatively easily with both my main computer via USB and a Asus Eee PC via BlueTooth. The main application that I wanted to verify was Eclipse Orchestrator and that worked perfectly. The suggested clock error being detected was well within the suggested range by the creators of the application. One downside I found is that only one application at a time can access the information. This could be down to the use of the serial comm port interface. To be honest that is not an issue for what I want to use it for.

In addition to the GPS dongle, a package from Rainbow Symphony arrived. The package took only four days to arrive in Sydney from California. I had purchased a variety of solar filters for the video and DSLR cameras and for good measure, 25 solar filter glasses. These might be handy to have for people who are not prepared and leave it to the last minute to secure. Added to a number of eclipse glasses I have left over from the 2004 Venus Transit I should be able to make some people happy. Here is a shot of the video and DSLR cameras all setup.


One additional purchased that I hadn't necessarily counted on but thought it would be a great idea to have one lying around, was a video fluid head. Manfrotto have a few that I liked and this one was reasonably priced when sourced from somewhere like B&H Photo and Video. The model # is MH055M8-Q5 Photo-Movie Tripod Head. Very nice design though a touch heavy being made out of magnesium. Added to the tripod head I bought some bags for my Giottos MTL-8360B's, a padded bag for the Manfrotto 393 and a Think Tank Pixel Sunscreen.

So all of the large purchases are now done and have been delivered. I am glad that I didn't leave it too late and be disappointed in the final weeks.Next weekend will be big as we start to approach the last full moon at which point I'll take the opporunity to check sample exposures. Theoretically speaking the DSLR should be OK but I want to make sure that I know the correct setting for the video camera (Sony CX700) for ideal exposure. On auto exposure the gain is too great and I won't get to film any subtle detail.

In the next three and a bit weeks to go I'll be practising setup and configuration followed by a number of trial runs. Will keep you informed of my progress.

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